There has been a lot of talk about the possible high heating bills this winter. And while it’s important to remember the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use, we know sometimes that just isn’t practical.
We want to be comfortable in our homes and we need to run appliances to keep up with household tasks. Here are some ways you can make sure your appliances are running efficiently and your home is set up for maximum savings, without sacrificing comfort.
Heating your home is the largest use of energy and offers the greatest opportunity for savings.
- Leave it to the professionals. Have your heating system tuned and inspected by a service professional. Heat losses from a poorly maintained system add up over time.
- Clean or replace your furnace filter often. Furnaces use less energy if they can “breathe” easily.
- Unblock your vents. Move furniture, rugs or curtains away from heat registers. Not only will air circulate better but blocked vents could cause a fire hazard.
- ENERGY STAR for the win. Replacing your furnace? Look for one that’s at least 95% efficient. Ask your contractor about ENERGY STAR certified units.
- Shut the front door. Well, all doors really. Close your attic, basement, garage and exterior doors to prevent cold drafts.
- Spin me right around. Your ceiling fan, that is. And at a low speed. This will push warm air away from the ceiling and move it around the room without creating a chilling breeze.
- Set it and forget it. We’re talking about your programmable thermostat. You can turn your heat up when you’re home and down during the hours you’re at work or out of the house. Don’t have one yet? Check out options at our online store.
Water heating is a typical family’s third-largest energy expense. Here are some ways to conserve and save:
- Install a low-flow aerator or flow restrictor on an existing shower head.
- Keep your hot water hot by making sure pipes in unheated areas are insulated.
- Fix the drip. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month, increasing your water and energy bill.
- Opt for cold water. Using cold water when washing your clothes will get your clothes just as clean while saving on water heating costs.
- Not using it? Turn it off. Don’t let hot water run when you wash or shave.
Cook up savings with these tips:
- Size matters. Make sure pots and pans are on the right size burners and have the proper lids on them to cook faster and use less energy.
- Only preheat when the recipe calls for it, and don’t preheat when using your broiler.
- No peeking! Every time you open the oven door, you’ll lose 25 to 75 degrees of heat.
- You have a choice! Check out alternate heating methods such as crock pots, air fryers or other small appliances which may be more energy efficient.
Here are some bright ideas to save:
- Light emitting diodes (LEDs) – not going to lie, I was today years old when I learned what LED stands for. Anyhoo – LEDs use 80% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last 15 times longer.
- Consider LEDs for outdoor use; they use less energy and let you enjoy different lighting levels for different tasks.
- When buying bulbs, check the lumens. The higher the lumens, the more light you’ll get.
- Dust it off. More light shines through when you keep dust off your lamp shades light fixtures and bulbs.
- Increase the power of reflection by putting lamps in corners where two walls reflect light into the room.
- Air is your friend. Turn off your dishwasher after the wash and rinse cycles. Open the door and let the dishes air dry.
- NEXT! Dry your laundry in consecutive loads – the clothes will dry faster and use less energy in a heated dryer.
- Shut the door (again) – this time the refrigerator door. Leaving it open to browse lets cold air escape and increases your energy costs.
- Chill out. Let hot foods cool before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer. Hot foods cause the motor to work longer and harder.
- After making coffee, turn off your coffeemaker and pour the leftover coffee in an insulated container to keep it hot.
- Pull the plug. Computers, televisions, video game consoles and other electronics still use energy when they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off.
- Curtain Call. Let the sun shine in by opening curtains, drapes, shades, shutters and blinds. Close them on cloudy days and at night to keep heat from escaping.
- Put a plug in it. About 2 percent of air escapes your home through electrical outlets, especially on outside walls. For a quick and cheap fix, use safety outlet plugs to stop cold air from entering your home.
If you’re planning to make some significant energy efficiency investments to your home you may be eligible for a rebate.
For more ways to save check out our website.
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Winterizing your home doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you’re struggling with paying your bills this winter, help is available.